However it shakes out with the Samsung Galaxy S10 this month, at least we can credit Samsung for sticking to its naming scheme. The least we can say for the S10 is that it does indeed come after the S9.
All snark aside, though, everyone is pretty jazzed for the Galaxy S10 after last year’s lackluster debut of the Galaxy S9 (AKA the Galaxy S8 Again). This year’s model promises bold new design choices, a plethora of forward-thinking features, and more cameras than Dennis Hopper in Apocalypse Now.
Samsung Galaxy S10E, S10, and S10+ (L to R), encased pic.twitter.com/Pk2gpXkXxn
— Evan Blass (@evleaks) January 19, 2019
Samsung isn’t reinventing the smartphone with the S10, but it does seem to be picking up and running with some of the more interesting developments in global smartphone technology just short of folding screens. Let’s take a quick look at its most touted aspects, and what they might mean for repairs!
Wednesday, February 20, 2019
How Many Versions?
Most reports will tell you Samsung is releasing three new Galaxy S series phones this year, but there’s talk of a fourth one, too. The three that most everyone agrees upon are the S10, S10+, and S10E (or S10 Lite).
The S10 and S10+ are the familiar duo – one smaller, one bigger – but both are expected to come with a triple back camera assembly plus a new heartrate monitor. The S10E is expected to be a “budget” version (a la the iPhone XR), roughly the same size as the S10 and packing two back cameras (and that’s just what we can tell from photo leaks).
Then there’s talk of a fourth, bigger S10 with 5G connectivity, but which won’t be released in tandem with the others... Too mysterious to speculate at the moment…
In-Display Fingerprint Scanner
Already featured on phones like the OnePlus 6T, Vivo X20 Plus, Vivo Nex Dual Display, in-display fingerprint scanning brings the scanner back around to the front of the phone and under the screen display. But whereas those other phones use optical scanners, the S10 uses Qualcomm’s 3D Sonic Sensor, which uses ultrasonic waves to scan a 3D layout of your fingerprint for a reportedly more secure sign-in process. It’s like having a tiny submarine (or bat) in your phone at all times to point out when your finger is in close proximity. Cool.
Right now the question is: what does the hardware look like? If one breaks, how easily can it be replaced? We know what optical in-display scanners look like (screenshots come from Jerry Rig Everything), and except for early variation seen on the Vivo X20 Plus, they’re not too daunting to find and replace. This feature above all is why we’re excited to see an S10 once it’s torn apart.
Here's the scanner on the OnePlus 6T as seen in the Jerry Rig Everything teardown:
Front Hole-Punch Cameras
We’re used to complaining about notches by now, but soon we’ll have to reckon with hole-punch camera dots. Will we embrace them as beauty marks on our pristine rectangular screen displays, or deride them as unsightly blemishes on our, uh, pristine rectangular screen displays? The S10 has one front-facing camera and the S10+ has two for an oblong opening.
Also not yet reckoned with is how a hole-punch camera design may affect repair. We’re confident there won’t be much of a change since the front screen display on most any flagship phone already acts as the lens for the front facing camera, regardless of how high the usable screen goes.
Back Camera Lens
This is more curious observation, but the back camera lens on the S10 and S10+, featuring three cameras, flash, and heartrate monitor, is oriented horizontally, and more closely resembles the styling on the Galaxy Note series phones than previous Galaxy S series phones. As such, it’s much bigger and more vulnerable to scratching.
Support for Next-Gen Wifi
Did you know Wifi comes in version numbers? Now you do! And Wifi 6 is the next one, coming this year and expected to – what else? – speed up all the devices. The Galaxy S10 will be ready for it. And considering the S10 already comes with many next-generation features following the boring rollout of the Galaxy S9, expect more users to adopt the S10 and hold onto it until the next version of Wifi rolls out in a few years.
The S10 is exciting. That’s a nice change from last year, and it’ll be interesting to see how many users flock to the newer model, ready to experience a real difference from the phones they’ve been using for the past few years. However, the S10 is going to be one expensive phone, so we’re curious to see if reception for the new lineup will be as muted as it was for the 2018 iPhone lineup over at Apple.
One thing’s for sure. They will break, and the repairs will evolve. Make sure to check out the first teardown you can find when the S10 drops in a few weeks!